Hungarian language prep

by Don  

Just downloaded the Pimsleur Hungarian course. I'll work on Hungarian for the next 28 days. Let's see if I can get through the whole thing properly. Pimsleur is the only audio course I have ever heard for Russian that I liked. I'm hoping their Hungarian intro is equally good.

Hungarian language, day 1

by Don  

Just listened to the "Audio User Guide," just for anal retentiveness's sake. Could have done without it. Still, I wanted to have the entire Pimsleur experience, so it was worth doing from that point of view.

Just did lesson one. I definitely think the pacing of learning the first dialog was spot on. They spend an entire 30 minutes on one fairly short dialog. I thought from the point of aural memory and pronunciation it was great. But of course I have quite a bit of language experience. I wonder whether the pace might be a bit too fast for someone who has not done a language before. On the other hand, they tell you to repeat the lesson until you are getting an 80% successful oral repetition rate, so maybe it's actually pretty good that way.

Hungarian language, numbers 1-10

by Don  

Y'know, I've studied 13 languages. But there was absolutely nothing I could leverage from those languages in memorizing the first ten numbers of Hungarian. That's okay, of course. You just have to memorize. Here they are:

2két or kettö

There are two bits of pronunciation information that are valuable. First off, the sequence "gy" is pronounced like the "d y" in "Did you buy the new car?" Next, the "c" is pronounced like the "ts" in "cats."

Hungarian language, verb ‘to speak’

by Don  

Here we have the conjugation of the verb 'to speak' in the present tense indefinite. ‘Indefinite’ means that either it does not have a direct object or that the direct object is indefinite (a/an/some).


For the purposes of my visit to Budapest, I'm learning two words for ‘you’: te, which is the equivalent of Spanish tú, and ön, the equivalent of usted. Just as in Spanish, the latter uses a second-person singular verb, and the former a third-person singular verb, and just as in Spanish subject pronouns are usually left out. E.g.:

Beszélsz angolul?Do you (familiar) speak English?
Beszél angolul?Do you (formal) speak English?

Hungarian language, T-V distinction

by Don  

Many languages have forms of ‘you’ that differ in politeness or relational closeness. That is, you use one form of ‘you’ when talking to a stranger on the street, and another form when talking to your child. So when I saw that Hungarian had te and ön, it seemed perfectly familiar and seemed to parallel Spanish nicely. But it turns out Hungarian is way more complicated than that, much too complicated for a first trip. If you are interested in the details, see the Wikipedia summary.

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